Health and safety in construction needs to be improved significantly

In 2018/19, there were 30 fatal injuries to construction workers in the UK. According to the Health and Safety Executive, the fatality rate in construction (1.31 per 100,000 workers) is three times the ‘all industry’ rate.

The top five causes were falls from a height (49%), being trapped by something collapsing/overturning (14%), being hit by a moving vehicle (11%), being struck by a flying/falling object (10%) and contact with electricity or electrical discharge (5%).

Of course, while many of these injuries and fatalities may have been due to accidents, some are no doubt caused by negligence. More can and needs to be done to improve health and safety on construction sites. As workers operate in hazardous conditions and with dangerous machinery, good communication is essential to ensuring a safe working environment.

But what needs to be done to improve health and safety on construction sites?


Provide workers with the right communication solutions

Clear communication is essential on construction sites – after all, miscommunication (or a lack of it) can lead to injuries and fatalities – but with noisy machinery it can be difficult for workers without the right communication tools to hear updates, warnings or emergency messages.

And yet despite the importance of communication tools, workers in hazardous conditions are “woefully under-equipped for the modern workplace”. According to report by Hytera, 82% of survey participants stated that their organisation uses mobile phones as a “primary communication system in the field”. Furthermore, mobile devices break easily, have poor battery life and are costly to repair or replace. Not ideal for a construction site or for when emergencies need to be communicated.

But not only are mobile phones unfit for construction sites, they also offer distractions in the form of text messaging, third-party applications and access to the internet, and offer no safety functions such as man down, GPS or lone worker. Imagine trying to operate a power saw whilst speaking on a mobile phone? This could easily jeopardise health and safety on the construction site and cause injuries.

With this considered, the most practical solution is a digital two-way radio. These devices are built-for-purpose, rugged, long-lasting, easy-to-use and come with health and safety features (man down, GPS and lone worker). Also, by using digital two-way radios, site supervisors can communicate with workers in real time, wherever, whenever. No need to use separate communication tools or channels.


Leverage the health and safety features digital two-way radios offer

Despite being the go-to solution for many working in hazardous conditions, mobile phones lack crucial functions to keep workers safe, such as GPS tracking, man down and lone worker. If a worker is injured whilst working in an unmanned area of the site, it will be difficult to find them (and finding them quickly will improve their chances of recovery or even survival). Digital two-way radios come equipped with GPS tracking (so supervisors can find workers quickly), man down (supervisors are alerted if a worker stays in a certain position for a period of time) and lone worker (remote workers have to check in at regular intervals to say they’re safe). These functions enable workers to work with confidence.

And, if workers need to relay emergency messages, they can instantly do so using their two-way radio. Digital two-way radios transmit in real time so workers can communicate with everyone (or specific people via created channels) in the moment. So if an area is slippery or someone is working overhead – that information can be sent to the relevant teams right away.

Finally, for greater peace of mind, supervisors/site managers can use radio dispatch solutions (such as TRBOnet) and hybrid communications, i.e. radio over IP, to communicate with everyone via their laptop, regardless of devices being used.


Add accessories to get the most out of your radios

Digital two-way radios support a host of accessories – from Bluetooth headsets and earpieces (for hands-free communication) to batteries and radio clips. It’s this kind of versatility that makes digital two-way radios superior to mobile phones and other communication solutions. For instance, if a worker is using a drill but still needs to communicate, they can be provided with a two-way radio and a noise-cancelling headset with voice-activated speech. The noise of the drill will be drowned out and the worker can communicate hands-free.

With the right accessories, construction workers can focus on the task at hand, maximising productivity, whilst keeping themselves safe from harm. Also, by using radio clips or earpieces, they don’t have to worry about dropping their digital two-way radio, which could potentially injure someone.


How can Kestrel Communications help?

As a specialist in the sale, service and rental of two-way radios and two-way radio systems (whether analogue, digital or integrated) we can find or devise a bespoke solution to meet your needs.

We have more than 30 years’ experience and can help you with two-way radios, lone worker and man-down alarm systems, radio over IP, ATEX radios, paging systems and much more.

If you’re looking a two-way radio system to improve health and safety on your construction site, why not take a look at our systems and solutions?